30 militants killed, explosive-laden vehicles destroyed

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The Somali Government has confirmed that its commandos killed 30 militants and destroyed vehicles packed with explosives during a raid in the Lower Shabelle province.

“They were planning massive operations and suicide car bombings against the people of Somalia,’’ Gen. Ismael Abdimalik Maalin, commander of the US-trained elite forces, told state-run Radio Mogadishu earlier.

Maalin said 30 militants had been killed, including unnamed senior commanders, and that vehicles “laden with explosives” had been destroyed.

The government spokesman, Ismael Mukhtar Omar, confirmed the information to dpa.

Omar did not say whether U.S. soldiers or drones were involved in the raid, which took place in the southern village of Boolow Elayo.

The raid occurred few days after a devastating bomb attack in the capital of Mogadishu killed over 80 people.

The terrorist militia al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to Omar, Somali armed forces have also wrested several villages in the same region from al-Shabaab control in the past 48 hours.

Al-Shabaab, which is seeking to establish an Islamist state in Somalia, controls large areas in the south and centre of Somalia, and repeatedly attacks security forces and civilians in the country.

The U.S. is supporting Somali forces as well as soldiers from the African Union in the fight against al-Shabaab, which is affiliated with the international al-Qaeda terrorist network.